Imagine being able to run your car’s diagnostics from your smartphone, or to monitor its fuel consumption and battery life. Commercial Link does exactly that – and much more; it can help drivers locate their vehicles, or keep track of speed and driver behaviour in real time.
The ground-breaking application – the first of its kind – was launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Developed by Melbourne-based tech company Connexion Media for General Motors, the application operates via an internet-connected SIM card installed in GM’s smart cars.
“It’s the first subscription service in the world that will use built-in connected car technology for everyday people. And this is the first of many,” explained George Parthimos, chief executive of Connexion Media, acknowledging the revolutionary aspect of the product.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Mr Parthimos explained that the app is a way to access the data. “But we have built a complete computer system which collects the data and stores it in the cloud, so that the user can have access via app or the web.”
The automobile industry is investing more and more in this kind of technology, with predictions of an estimated 250 million internet-connected cars being in circulation by the year 2020. This fact alone has created a great need in the market for software and applications.
George Parthimos is well aware of that and promises that Commercial Link will be followed by many software-as-a-service vehicle management products for internet-connected cars.
As presented at the CES in Las Vegas, Commercial Link can be used by vehicle owners and small fleet managers. The subscription fee starts at $10 per month, per vehicle, when the user has an OnStar account with GM (which is behind brands such as Holden, Chevrolet and Cadillac). Almost all of the 3.4 million vehicles that the auto giant manufactures for the US market alone each year will have access to Commercial Link.
“The smart car is the vehicle of the future and I feel especially content that Connexion Media is the first company in the world to turn it into reality,” stated Mr Parthimos.
“This is big for Australia, not just us. People are going to look back in 10 years and see a particular point in time. When was the first time the connected car actually created value for consumers? This is that moment,” he said.
The ASX-listed Connexion Media came to fame with the miRoamer, the world’s first in-car internet radio, which opened the way for partnerships with major car manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Peugeot.
Apart from developing cutting-edge software, Connexion Media has broader plans for the future, as it is aiming to become an agent in the rejuvenation of the Victorian automotive sector, keeping the industry alive, after the closure of Toyota and Holden’s manufacturing divisions in Australia.
For that purpose, it is creating an innovation centre in Melbourne and another in Detroit, linking automotive tech companies with major industry players.